Bach - Goldberg Variations you favourite


These variations have been my constant companion for the last sixty years and I have a few firm favourites spanning that time and more. I believe they are with Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations the consummate art of the western civilisation.
Could you please list which ones you listen to most.
My selection is Arrau , Gould 1955 , Schiff 1983 , Dershavina , Rana and Levit.
jim204
Vladimir Feltsman....Lived in Russia after the crash of the walls...

A stupendous creative interpretation filled with a spirit that is not only virtuoso but much more pure joy....

This Bach Work is a gem among gems by the old master... And i loved all interpretations tough....

I will investigate Dershavina playings Thanks very much for the advice....
@mahgister  Thanks for the tip about Feltsman I shall investigate today.
Best , Jim.
I like Simone Dinnerstein's version and Ito Ema's version on vinyl from MA recordings.
Thanks i dont know any of them.... My best....
Actually, I like the Glen Gould Zenph re-performance of the 1955 version.  Zenph did such a great job, it a shame they went under.  It's interesting comparing Gould to the Ito Ema version.  Very different approaches to the same piece.
It is also interesting to own other clavier version than piano....Harpsichord and organ... Zuzana Ruzickova version on harpsichord is exceptional and Walcha too on harpsichord .... And the trio transcripted version of Dmitry Sitkovestky by Sitkovesky.... A pure marvel....
God sleep good on the 7th day because he listen to his own creature most perfect creation, the Goldberg variations...Projective geometry and prime numbers distributions are the only other contenders for perfection but too much akin to his divine works....Bach is the second son of God and more lucky if i can say without shocking anyone.... 

:)
Gould, Barenboim, Schiff
Most of my Classical music is on CDs.Which I enjoy tremendously. 
@chayro    Funny you should mention Zenph as that is the version of the 55 Gould that I always listen to. It is so great to hear a stunning Goldberg's without tape hiss and uneven equalisation and a wonderful piano. The only thing I hate about Gould is his version is completely devoid of repeats.
Jim204,

Thanks for starting this thread. The Goldbergs are a wonder and a joy. Mahgister's praise was, if anything, understated. Aquinas had five proofs for the existence of a supreme being. If he had lived to hear the Goldbergs, he undoubtedly would have had six.

Jeremy Denk (piano), Murray Perahia (piano), Dimitry Sitkovetsky (strings)
I will only add the only work more perfect than the Golberg is the Art of the fugue, but the Goldberg are expression of pure joy, where the Art is pure contemplation.... 
I only describe my impression without pretending to anything....

:)
Maybe because my wife plays harpsichord, but as much as I enjoy several piano versions, my favorites are on the original instrument.  I have really grown to admire Richard Egarr's recording of late.
If you are not ruling out harpsichord, Pierre Hantai's first version (on Opus 111) is wonderful. His second recording (on Mirare) is also wonderful, but I prefer the first by a nose, for both sound and performance.

On the piano, Andrew Rangell's recording on Dorian brings an introspective quality I enjoy greatly. Very good sound, too, as was typical of Dorian.
i second Hantai first version.....But do not know Rangell, thanks....
Getting off to a great start and some I have never heard but are food for thought. I had completely forgotten about Perahia  but as great as the interpretation is the recording of the piano has some equalisation  problems that grate with me. The plus side with Perahia is I got to hear him live in Glasgow a few years ago and have to say it was wonderful. 
      On the Harpsicord I admit to liking , Kenneth Gilbert best then Pierre Hantai both versions then Richard Eggar only with minor reservations with the instrument used in which I find some of the notes in chordal writing a bit discordant.

I agree with the near perfection of the Goldberg Variations. I never become tired of hearing them. My favorites would be Dinnerstein, Angela Hewitt, and Beatrice Rana. Also mentioned is Murray Perahia. It was John Atkinson’s favorite in the past. I have heard recently a live concert with Alexandre Tharaud. Excellent. His recorded Goldberg is on the Erato label. I have all including Glenn Gould. His verbal utterances can be a bit distracting to me.
Bach once said, “ The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” His opinion only, but one can get a glimpse of that when listening to the Goldbergs.
John
Certainly music than which none is greater.  Try Ralph Kirkpatrick on cembalo.  Archiv 198 020.  Amazing tonal palette on display.
Yes Kirkpatrick made astounding Scarlatti 's... Good post.... Thanks
I think Rana’s account is all encompassing for someone so young. She is certainly going to be one of the greats of this century. If so inclined try her Ravel Miroirs, it is stunning.
Would it be considered a hijack if I asked people to share their favorite versions of Chopin “Nocturnes”? I fell for these with Rubinstein’s version on RCA then moved on to Moravec’s CD reissued Conossiuer Society recordings. Recently bought Maria Joao Pires on DG and like these best of all. 

Yes, it is.

And in first position is Ivan Moravec.

Everything else is....

Hijacking, yes. Why not start a new thread with an appropriate title? You'll get more responses.
I have no objection in speaking about Chopin's Nocturnes and I shall throw my hat in the ring and say my favourite's are Arrau first then Moravec and then Barenboim. I chose Arrau because of his piano tone which can be orgiastic at times and I just think he covers it all for me. The only thing for me is no way can I listen to them all in a row the way I can The Goldbergs but a cluster of 4 or 5 is very rewarding.
For the Nocturnes Arrau is the best, only if you listen his interpretation a short time each time you try it, BUT if you listen the nocturnes one times a day for your life captive on an island i cannot vouch for anything except Moravec.... :)


With Arrau the melody exist in itself.... For Moravec the melody is there only after coming from EACH chord, indirectly so to speak....

Then you listen first each note with Moravec like if only this note was essential and the only one existence in eternity.... with Arrau you listen first the melody....

With Moravec we indeed listen through Chopin own fascination for Bach and we suddenly understand it and why it makes sense and sound....

:)
Any melody can be boring on repetition, but repeating a gong note for example is never boring, the body is too much affected; Moravec playing each note in his eternal necessary color is always new jet flying out in the brain/body.... The melody is a children born out of the love of one chord for another one....

The Nocturnes and the Goldberg are so great because of these absolute mastery of writing the right chords at the right times...Then the melody becomes or show itself no more arbitrary but an eternal evidence....
i Listen to Bach cantatas right now...(Richter)

Bach can gives to us the ability to see that all existence can be viewed simultaneously from on another plane of being and inside of it....

And this power in him is so great that Bach is probably the greatest composer that ever lived, because the others transform us by expressing emotions but Bach transmutate the emotions even before expressing them....The emotions expressed are expressed in their perfect essence...In this way Bach gives to us an organ to perceive ourself anew...

His music is not only beautiful it is nearer from perfection than anything except number theory and projective geometry that seems on par with his works....Just remember that God create the numbers to see how great Bach is really...:)

No other musician was ever so unanimously accepted as father, master, and supremum artist and NEVER challenged by any other one, only admiratively and humbly imitated even by Mozart....

Some interesting question for the human race :

Who will surpass it in the future?

And is it possible?

Is there a limit to human achievement in any field or an unsurpassable peak point in the actual state of the human mind?

Is the moral standpoint make the Arts, especially music, so much different from science in this perspective?

Perhaps the only progress that ever was and that ever will be is the elevation of the moral understanding to the same certitude level than mathematics?

All this is suggested  amazingly by Bach music only mere existence....


@mahgister     What an eloquent thread you have just written and I am with you a hundred percent. Without doubt he was certainly the greatest composer by a wide margin. Beethoven was one of the first pre romantic composers to give his pupils the 48 preludes and fugues to get pupils up to scratch on their technique. Chopin and Liszt also prescribed large doses of Bach for their pupils also.
Thanks Jim204 for this thread.... And thanks for your kind words....

The problem with Richter Cantatas version is that the duration is around 30 hours long.... And i cannot stop.... :)

Even for listening the Goldberg, or the new magician Vikingur Olafsson....

We must petition Olafsson for his Golberg version soon, at least before i die..... :)
@mahgister    Regarding Olaffson I hope you get to listen to at least a couple of Goldberg recordings from him before that time comes.
Regards , Jim.
Vikingur  Olafsson’s Bach recording is incredible. I have been listening to it each morning and cannot get the melodies out of my head. I would love to hear from him a recording of the Goldbergs.
John Dean